The 5-Step Plan For Finding Your Perfect Life Partner (That Actually Works)

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couple at the movies together

There's nothing you want more than to learn how to find your soulmate — your perfect life partner.

But since you're no closer to finding "the one" despite your continued search for love, it's time you considered some new dating advice so you can finally get it right and meet the man of your dreams.

After all, you've learned how to pick all the important things in life — a great college, a suitable career, a reliable car, even a fabulous glass of wine. So why do you spend so little time learning how to make great choices where your heart is concerned?

RELATED: The 5-Step Plan For Finding Your Soulmate (That Actually Works)

Advice for how to cut through dating uncertainty

When it comes to deciding who has the potential to be your life-long companion, the dating process you go through often looks uncertain and complicated.

It's largely based on sheer initial chemistry, rather than any sort of logical, scientific, or heartfelt methodology — which is the key to building a strong relationship foundation and, ultimately, the best way to find your soulmate.

In the past, you've taken very little time to investigate if a person is truly a great match for you or your life journey, before giving your heart and mind over to the idea that they could be "the one" for you.

It also seems that the majority of people think relationship skills are supposed to be innate; however, studies show that marriage education, whether before or after a couple is married, dramatically reduces a couple’s chance of divorce by one-third.

Yet, very few individuals actually seek instruction on the important skills needed for an interpersonal relationship to thrive.

When choosing your life partner and deciding to marry them, blindly following an "autopilot mindset" is bound to lead you down a rocky road.

That's why it's important to pull your head out of the love-chemical-induced fog and take time to refine your skills when it comes to choosing a life partner and maintaining a successful relationship.

The whole process of finding your soulmate and perfect life partner begins with introspection.

Know your relationship priorities

What matters most to you? Whose relationships have you seen that you would like to emulate?

Take some time to get a clear vision of what you want in a relationship, and what you want in a life partner — both now and into the future as you grow with them.

The next step is to write down your vision in detail. Review this list and make sure all of the traits you desire could realistically exist in one human being and narrow down, where you can, any physical traits.

It's important to stay open-minded and realize there's a good chance your perfect life partner may not come in the package you had envisioned. What's most important is that you and your soulmate are aligned over core values and share a similar vision of what it means to co-create a lifetime of happiness. 

Once you have thought through these issues, it's time to take action.

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Here is the 5-step guide for finding your perfect life partner — that actually works:

1. Investigate your past relationship patterns

Start by honestly acknowledging the patterns you have in relationships. What did you pick up from your parents or your previous relationships? How do those patterns play into your responses to someone else’s actions?

This knowledge is key to being at your best in your relationship. When you are aware of how your specific attachments and biological, chemical, and communication patterns influence you, it will assist you in no longer being blindly piloted by them.

Instead, you will be able to better chart your own course, and smoothly navigate your way toward someone whose relationship patterns will work in harmony with yours.

Also, try to slow things down if it's a long-term arrangement you’re looking for.

Physical chemistry often compels you to move faster than you should, and the chemical cocktail produced from great sex will more often than not give you the illusion of a strong foundation for a relationship that may not actually exist yet.

This is especially true for women whose emotional existence can seduce them into feelings of romantic love, well before actual love has arrived.

Many individuals who rush into relationships may often remain in a "better-than-nothing" relationship long past its expiration date because of the flimsy foundation it was built on originally.

2. Explore how real life-long relationships work

Are you one of the lucky minority who comes from a loving, thriving family with parents who are still together? If yes, count your blessings, because many people don't. Who in your world has a good relationship?

Even if it's not perfect, what components of their marriage do you admire and hope to someday emulate? Get clear on what matters most to you in a partnership then check in with yourself to make sure it's a solid commitment that is based in reality.

If you are lacking in good role models, find a few new ones and pick their brains on why their marriage works so well. If need be, research great partnerships online and read about inspiring couples overcoming adversity to broaden your perspective.

Always be clear on what is important for you in a relationship with your future life partner.

Do you want to be with someone who enjoys entertaining, or would you prefer quiet nights at home cooking together? Important topics to cover before diving into a committed relationship include knowing where they stand on marriage, kids, and what their general vision is for the future.

Do they have a realistic game plan? Is financial stability a priority to them? Can you gauge whether or not they are devoted to making your relationship a priority in their life and do you know how they define a successful marriage? 

RELATED: 7 Clues You've Finally Found Your Soulmate Relationship

3. Look beyond the first impression

You want to be liked, so you put your best foot forward when meeting someone new. To a certain extent, that means you don’t reveal all of yourself upfront. That is natural, and you can assume most people do the same.

Unfortunately, these masks can make it difficult to get to know the real person for several weeks, months or even years.

Your key to long-term success is determined by your choice of a good match early on. Your ability to be tuned into your intuition — using your heart, head, and gut as a gauge — during the first three months of dating is crucial.

By initially being able to "put someone at ease," you encourage them to more fully show their true selves, and in turn, they will reveal their true motives to you.

To put someone at ease, you need to be in control of your own thought processes first. Do you have a propensity to make assumptions or cast judgments when you start dating someone new? Those assumptions are most likely not serving your greater purpose of finding a great, long-term partner.

Whatever is happening in your mind is projected through your facial and body gestures, so if you are in a positive upbeat place, you will transfer those good feelings to your partner. It’s important you know yourself well so your capacity to know others is more transparent.

4. Pay attention to details

To effectively decide if you have found a good potential match, you have to take on a role that combines the skills of an investigative reporter and those of an undercover agent.

Cultivate your ability to ask good open-ended questions. Be an active listener and stay tuned into your gut and heart, following up with more questions if they say something that makes you feel uneasy.

Remember not to make assumptions, but instead, allow someone to explain with more precision what they mean. With all that bombards your brain nowadays, you can suffer in your ability to remain focused. As a result, setting the groundwork for a solid, healthy relationship can be a prolonged and confusing affair.

And remember to put down your smartphone sometimes, too. Have actual conversations with them and become conscious and fully present when you are together.

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5. Set goals and stick to them

Once you have found someone with potential and decided this person is where your energy can be productively spent, then the real dating begins. Finding your soulmate and life partner is not a dance. It’s a project.

Know what your relationship goals are in the short and long term, and use your time wisely. Don't waste your time going to movies or other events where you are not directly spending quality time getting to know each other in the early stages of dating.

You don't need to determine if he is "the one" during your first few dates. Instead, your goal should be just to have fun with this person, find things you have in common, keep the conversation positive, and make sure you carefully watch how they react in different environments. 

After five or six solid dates, you should then be able to confidently share your core values and the vision of what you want in a relationship with the person you're seeing. After you paint the picture of what you're looking for, ask them what they've imagined for their future relationship.

Continue to ask good open-ended questions about what you both envisioned for your future. Again, don't assume, and don't judge.

If something they tell you seems significantly off from your vision, ask on a scale of zero to ten — zero being not important at all and ten being essential — where they lie on that issue. It helps you quickly assess if it is a fixed value or ideal, or if they are up for potentially shifting their mindset on the topic.

RELATED: Your (Incorrect) Concept Of 'Soulmate' Is Keeping You Single

Joy Nordenstrom is a relationship coach based in the San Francisco Bay Area, who helps men and women overcome attachment issues and build healthy relationship skills that foster lasting love.